Drinkable DNA & Tombstone Fudge | 4M #2
Welcome to the second edition of Morticians’ Monday Morning Mashup, where we’ll serve up bite-sized, easily-digestible nuggets of the deathcare news you need to crush conversations during the week ahead. Bon appetit!
Another One Bites the Desert Dust
Nevada’s State Funeral Board shut down Hites Funeral Home in Henderson, Nevada this week. The board suspended the firm’s license for six months following reports (and photos) of stacked bodies. Kudos to Bunkers Mortuary in Las Vegas, who stepped up for the families of the more than 40 loved ones left at Hites.
Disproportionate Death Among Black Morticians
This week the Associated Press reported that COVID has had a disastrous impact among Black morticians. According to the AP and the National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association, about 130 Black morticians have died from COVID. One source cited the “very closeness and celebration that distinguish Black funerals” as a potential root cause for a higher risk of infection. Whatever the case, we join this community in mourning all deathcare professionals who effectively sacrificed their own safety to serve others.
Window Shopping for Funerals
U.S. funeral directors have had nearly 40 years to get used to the Funeral Rule. In the UK, though, directors are having to adjust to a whole new slate of rules — mostly about price lists. As of September 16, all UK funeral homes will have to:
- Post their price lists in the front windows and on posters or screens indoors,
- Display information about who owns the funeral home, and
- Display the source of any gifts, sponsorships, or donations over £250 (~$342 US).
A Hard to Swallow Post-Cremation Option
An article touting the introduction of alkaline hydrolysis to an Australian community describes the end result of the process as “liquid DNA.” However, in an effort to tout the environmental friendliness of aquamation, the author says, “In theory, the remains could be consumed.” Eww. Then, an Aussie professor goes on to say this option could “prove attractive to some” and “can often be seen as an act of love.” Sounds more like this classic episode of South Park to me.
150-Year-Old Lost Tombstone Used to Make Fudge
Auctioneers sorting through the estate of a deceased Lansing, Michigan man were surprised to find a five-foot-long white granite headstone among his belongings. It’s not clear if the homeowners knew the slab was actually the missing grave marker for Peter Weller, who died in 1849. They just said they’d been using the flat side of the stone to make fudge. A cemetery preservationist will replace the stone on Weller’s resting place on September 26, a full 150 years after it disappeared. We only hope someone brings fudge to the dedication.
A Toast to These High Achievers!
Congratulations to these deathcare professionals on their recent accomplishments:
- Leland B. Norman Jr., President of Houston Funeral Home in Mississippi, was recognized for 50 years of service.
- Kasey W. Griffin, Courtney McGhee, Greg Russell, and Victoria Anne Schwinke were named to Missouri’s State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors.
- William C. Peoples of Cawley & Peoples Funeral Homes in Ohio was honored for 50 years as a licensed funeral director.